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Content marketing is everywhere. As people are increasingly using online conversations as their digital identity, the best strategy for consumer brands to engage with their audiences with is to create content they can use as their own social currency. 

Effectively, content marketing is no longer just relevant to B2B brands or consumer brands where there is a need for factual information and reviews.

Nowadays, every brand can benefit from content marketing – be it blog posts, Facebook apps, microsites or Pinterest boards.

A lot has been written about idea generation, tools and best practices on producing great content.

I would still to propose a simple framework that looks at massively overlooked concepts that content marketing needs in order to thrive. And, in honour of our early days studying Marketing by the book, I’d like to propose it in the form of the 4 Ps.

Positioning

First and foremost, you need to position your content. What is it that you are going to offer your audience that nobody else can? With every other food brand curating recipes, waht makes your recipe ‘yummier’ than others!

Positioning your content is no different to positioning and marketing your product.

Some will say that it is down to quality and I would reply “let’s be careful”. Your brand might be putting loads of quality content out there, but you are competing with media companies that have content at the heart of what they do.

If you don’t clearly position yourself away, you can be competing with the BBC, The Guardian, Jamie Oliver or Mumsnet. Good luck then.

Your personality and tone is also part of your positioning. Innocent does a great job at conveying this warm, cute and friendly personality that makes people want to talk to them. Injecting personality into your brand always pays off in social media where people want to interact with you by choice (provided you don’t put up barriers).

Passion

Very important, you need to drive your content with passion. You share a passion with your audience and that is the best way to connect with them.

Whether you are in the business of music, mobile phones or curating art, you need to find that one thing where your business and your audience connects and thrives together.

Client and agency relationships work best when clients and agencies are able to seamlessly collaborate. Clients can inject the passion for the product whereas agencies can bring best practices, measurement and paid media into the mix to ensure that the passion of the client is taken to its full advantage.

Paid media

Often forgotten by many clients, paid media is an essential element of your content creation. Your video content might be amazing but there are still 72 hours of video content uploaded to Youtube every minute (also bear in mind it is always less amazing than you think due to cognitive biases that lead us to overstate the quality of the work we are involved with).

Your Facebook status update might be revolutionary, but on average, Facebook status updates reach less than 15% of your fanbase. 

Paid Media should integrate with your owned media assets. If you have a Youtube branded channel you should still seed some of the videos through paid media to guarantee cut-through. And the same applies to tweets, Facebook status updates and blogposts.

Perseverance

Your content marketing needs to have a perseverance theme to it. It takes time to build a strong community. Also, content needs to be optimised and refined over time. You need to do a lot of research into topics and approaches that before you know which ones resonate best with your audience. 

A good understanding and analysis at post-level, as well as content tagging (do my audience prefer to talk about and act on #apples or #pears kind of content?) can help you tweak and refine your content.

Content plans are all well and good, but content curation and creation needs to be agile enough (Think Bodyform) to change and adapt to what the audience favours. As Eissenhower said: “I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable”.

Image credit: Sean Macentee via Flickr

Xavier Izaguirre

Published 28 January, 2013 by Xavier Izaguirre

Xavier Izaguirre is Social Media Director at Total Media and a contributor to Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter.

5 more posts from this author

Comments (4)

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Claire Dumbreck

Oh Al, I'm going to have to borrow and adapt this line for future client discussions: "I'm afraid you might be suffering from a cognitive bias that is leading you to overstate the quality of your work." Beautifully put!

over 3 years ago

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Anne Purnell

ditto

over 3 years ago

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Amy Nicholson, Head of Editorial Client Services at Sticky Content

I’d definitely add a 5th: Performance. Client and agency alike need to know what success is going to look like for them, and review their content’s performance against their KPIs at least quarterly, so they can tweak the content plan in response.

Also, your KPIs should be mapped to your business goals. So while social shares might be important if you're looking to increase engagement, if you're trying to increase industry awareness, inbound links might be a better way to measure your success. Actually, thinking about it, performance should perhaps be the first P!

Without measuring and reviewing, a lot of content marketing can end up being little more than pray-and-spray guesswork.

over 3 years ago

Xavier Izaguirre

Xavier Izaguirre, GM Blogger Relations at Unruly Media

You are right Amy. For some right I squeezed some measurement thoughts on #4 but it does deserve it's own P!! You happy for me to change it and reference you?

over 3 years ago

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